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"One country, two systems, even for kids in high school."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It will be interesting to see where rookie director Xue Bai goes from "The Crossing" in large part because it exists on several different sorts of lines. The story straddles the line between genre movies and coming-of-age tales without tipping too far in either direction and the setting itself is quite deliberately neither here nor there. It's a sure-handed debut that doesn't try to tell a universal story but handles the spots where it bumps into limitations well." (more)
"The Doppelgängers Are All Here."
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "With his 2017 debut film, “Get Out,” writer-director Jordan Peele created a wild and audacious blend of horror and social satire that found him clearly tipping his hat to his artistic influences while at the same time spinning off into new and original directions. The result was a sensationally effective work that had the one-of-a-kind success that few filmmakers ever achieve, especially on the first project—raves from critics and audiences alike, a worldwide gross of over $250,000,000 and a much-deserved Oscar for Original Screenplay. The downside to all of this adulation is that it left Peele facing something more terrifying and soul-destroying than anything that he had created in”Get Out”—the task of trying to come up with a follow-up that could come close to the massively high expectations that he was now up against. This is not hyperbole on my part—when I sat down at the packed preview screening of his new film, “Us,” you could feel a genuine sense of excitement and expectation from the attendees, even the jaded people in the press rows, over what Peele had in store for them this time around." (more)
"Isn't it romantic? Sort of?"
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""More Than Blue" is the sort of love story that requires a viewer to be able to say "yes, this is horrible, but so romantic!", and, folks, I am not good at that. Nope, I'm the guy who is going to spend much of the movie trying to keep myself from yelling "that's not freakin' heartwarming, you ghouls!" despite how generally and earnestly charming this romance can be." (more)
"Sharp - if highly specific and sexual - satire."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I'm not in a position to wonder too much about the critical reception "Three Husbands" has received in its native Hong Kong; even more than most movies from the region, familiarity with its satirical targets, language, and other pieces of context will almost certainly enhance a picture that is already an impressive bit of independent filmmaking. It's the sort of film that's built to be a critical darling, especially with filmmaker Fruit Chan Gor returning to the sort of thing that first made him his name twenty years ago, maybe flattering the art-house audience a bit." (more)
"Veronica Go."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Furie" has Veronica Ngo Thanh Van and not a whole lot else, and while you can often say that this sort of movie doesn't need a whole lot more than one charismatic star and enough folks to sell the other half of a fight scene to get through 90 minutes, it certainly doesn't hurt. This one has some undeniably impressive martial-arts action and precisely as much story is necessary to justify it, and while one might maybe like a bit more, the film certainly delivers what it promises." (more)
"Worth it for the performances."
3 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... ""Tell It to the Bees" is a modest, satisfyingly morose drama that tries a little too hard to be poetic and literary. (It’s based on a 2009 novel by Fiona Shaw.)" (more)
"Not that great, but not that bad either."
3 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Rather than being the 2,000th writer to tell you why you shouldn’t like 'Green Book,' I’d like to try to get at what works in it and why its appeal may not necessarily be racist." (more)
"Max Zhang doing kung fu on land and sea."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Max" Zhang Jin is certainly well-positioned to be the next big Hong Kong martial-arts star, fresh off a couple fight-scene-stealing turns against Donnie Yen and Wu Jing & Tony Jaa, the sort that make you want to see more of the guy playing the villain. Of course, it's worth remembering that Wu's first starring roles after similar parts weren't exactly impressive, and that's where Zhang finds himself here: Physically gifted, showing enough acting chops beyond fights to suggest star potential, but not yet getting cast in the good lead roles yet." (more)
"Realizing half of its ideas isn't bad when a film has so many."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I feel a bit ungrateful wondering how "Cinderella the Cat" got made when I enjoyed enough pieces to shade my "it's okay" score toward the positive, but it's a decidedly odd movie that has to stretch to do its most worthy bits and which, as an animated film based on a fairy tale, is often going to have people coming at it with the wrong idea or ignoring it for the same reason. It is, if nothing else, interestingly eccentric, which isn't always enough." (more)
"I don't think there have been quite THAT many unofficial remakes!"
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Number 37" is basically an uncredited remake of "Rear Window" set in an unsavory Cape Town neighborhood, but that's not exactly a bad place to start if the goal is to make a decent thriller, and while the result may not be a classic, it clears that bar. Maybe this version is not as inventive as the things that inspired it, and there's really not a beat that you can't predict once the basics have been put into place, but it does find an approach to the material that makes it worth a new pass." (more)

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